President Donald Trump’s faithfulness to his campaign promises has been a source of concern to many and last night he proved to the world exactly how serious about those promises he’s going to be when he presented plans to increase military spending before Congress.

President Trump at his first address to a Joint Session of Congress.

The proposal will raise the current $600 billion defense budget another $54 billion, which means another 90,000 soldiers, 100 more air force jets, and an increase from the current 274 ships to 350 in the navy. In addition to these, money will be spent on strengthening US presence in key international waterways and choke-points like the Strait of Hormuz and the South China Sea.

The increased defense budget will only slightly affect expensive federal welfare programmes by removing a few benefits, but environmental and foreign aid agencies will bear the brunt of the cuts required by the proposal.

Statistics of the discretionary spending percentage of the 2016 US budget show national defense taking up nearly 50% of the entire budget, supporting critics’ argument that the US is already spending plenty on defense.

Former president George W. Bush on NBC’s Today Show yesterday.

One critic in particular has shared the same office as Trump – George W. Bush, the 43rd President of the United States. In an interview with NBC’s Today Show, he criticized Trump’s immigration policies, promoted media as the watchdog of the world’s leaders and demanded answers for Trump’s relationship with Russia. But take this with a grain of salt – this is coming from the president who ordered the invasion on Afghanistan and built up a reputation as a warmonger.

Trump justifies the increase of the defense budget under the excuse of public safety and national security, actions that put “America first” but the proposal will have implications on a global scale. The UN, to whom the US contributes 22% of the main budget and 29% of peacekeeping costs, are concerned now that the US will be cutting foreign aid funds.

More than 120 retired US generals and admirals urged Congress to protect US humanitarian aid efforts, including former Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey and former CIA director Gen. David Petraeus.

Operation Iraqi Freedom
Gen. George Casey and Gen. David Petraeus, retired US generals.

“We know from our service in uniform that many of the rises our nation faces do not have military solutions alone,” reads the letter they sent to Congress.

Trump’s new proposals also have business implications on a global scale, because one of his requests calls for the US to directly level their sanctions against China and other nations that “take advantage of” their WTO memberships. This idea is promoted by Trump’s trade advisers, China critics Wilbur Ross (confirmed as Trump’s secretary of commerce yesterday) and Peter Navarro. If negotiations don’t offer the US a better deal, former trade adviser Dan DiMicco says Trump would walk away from the WTO completely. This could be the next step Trump takes to isolate the US from the rest of the world.

Check out a review of UK print newspaper coverage below.


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